Sunday, September 21, 2014

77. Megh : Reference of Meghs with other castes/clans

A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/C  via Jat Land

Chamar

Chamar (चमार), Chamiar (चमिआर), fem. [Chamari]] (चमारी). The Chamār is the tanner and leather-worker of North-Western India,* and in the western parts of the Punjab he is called Mochi whenever he is, as he generally is, a Musalman, the caste being one and the same. The name Chamar is derived from the Sanskrit charmakāra or "worker in hides." But in the east of the Punjab he is far more than a leather-worker. He is the general coolie and field labourer of the villages; and a Chamar, if asked his caste by an Englishman at any rate, will answer " Coolie " as often as " Chamār."† They do all the begar, or such work as cutting grass, carrying wood and bundles, acting as watchmen, and the like ; and they plaster the houses with mud when they need it. They take the hides of all dead cattle and the flesh of all clovenfooted animals, that of such as do not divide the hoof going to Chuhras. They make and mend shoes, thongs for the cart, and whips and other leather work; and above all they do an immense deal of hard work in the fields, each family supplying each cultivating association with the continuous labour of a certain number of hands. All this they do as village menials, receiving fixed customary dues in tho shape of a share of the produce of the fields. In the east and south-east of the Punjab the village Chamars also do a great deal of weaving, which however is paid for separately. The Chamars stand far above the Chuhras in social

* Sherring has a long disquisition on the Chamar caste, which appears to be much more extensive and to include much more varied tribes in Hindustan than in the Punjab.
† Why is a Chamar always addressed with "Oh Cbamar ke " instead of " Oh Chamar," as any other caste -would be ?

[Page-148]
Chamar synonyms
position, and some of their tribes are almost accepted as Hindus.* They are generally dark in colour, and are almost certainly of aboriginal origin, though here again their numbers have perhaps been swollen by members of other and higher castes who have fallen or been degraded.
The people say :
Kariā Brahman, got Chamār
In ke sāth na utrie par.
Meaning -" Do not cross the ferry with a black Brahman or a fair Chamār".
One being as unusual as the other. Their women are celebrated for beauty, and loss of caste is often attributed to too great partiality for a Chamāri.
The traditional origin of the Chamars is that Chanu (or Chanwe) and Banu were two brothers : the former removed a cow's carcase with his own hands and so Banu† out-casted him.†† In Kapurthala, however, another version is current, and according to this Gāt told his brother Met to remove a carcase and then declined to associate with him for doing so, and the Mirasi who witnessed the incident, took Gat's part. From Mat are descended the Chamars.
Synonyms. — It is difficult to say what are the real synonyms of Chamār. The term Chuhra-Chamār is often used to denote the group formed by the two castes, just as Mochi-Julahā, is used, but it does not imply that the two castes are identical. Just as the Muhammadan Chamar is styled Mochi so the Sikh Chamar is called Ramdasia (qq. v.). In Sirsa a Chamar is called Meghwāl as a compliment, but opprobiously he is styled Dheḍ§ or Dheṛh, a term applied to any 'low fellow'. The 'Meghwāl' claim descent from Megh-rikh who was created by Narain.
Groups. — The Chamars are divided into several sub-caste?. In the Eastern Punjab there appear to be at least five true sub-castes which do not intermarry. These are in order of precedence :
i. Chāndor, said in Delhi to trace its origin from Benares, possibly from some association with Kabir. It is the principal sub-caste in Hissar, including Sirsa, and its members do not tan, leaving that to the Chamrangs and Khatiks, and working only in prepared leather. See also under Meghwāl.
ii. Raidāsi or Rabdāsi, named after Raidās Bhagat, himself a Chamar, a contemporary of Kabir, and like him a disciple of Ramanand. It is the prevalent sub-caste in Karnal and its neighbourhood.
iii. Jaṭiā, found in greatest numbers about the neighbourhood of Delhi and Gurgaon. They work in horse and camel hides, which are an abomination to the Chāndar, probably as having the foot uncloven; and are perhaps named from the word jaṭ

* The Chamars will eat food prepared by any tribe except the Khākrob (Chuhra), Kanjar, Sansi and Nat, Smoking; is only allowed anions themselves and they will not eat or drink from a Dhobi, a Dum or a Nilgar (indigo dyer) [Karnal].
† Banu or Banwe here would appear to be the eponym of the Bania caste, which is said to still worship an ār and a rambi at weddings.
†† A Dum witnessed the occurrence, and so to this day no Chamar will eat or drink from a Dum or Mirasi's hands,
§ The Dheḍ appears to be a separate caste in the Central Provinces, though closely allied with the Chamr. The Dheḍ is also a large tribe in Kachh and Sindh, also called Bhambi.

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The Chamar sub-castes

a camel-grazier. On the other hand, they are said to obtain the services of Gaur Brahmans, which would put them above all other Chamars, who have to be content with the minisatrtions of the outcast Chamarwa Brahman.
iv. Chambār, the prevalent sub-caste further west about Jullundhar and Ludhiana.
V. Golia, lowest of all the sub-castes, indeed Golia is the name of a section of many menial castes in the Eastern Punjab, and in almost all cases carries with it an inferior standing in the caste.
Further west, in Nabha, the sub-castes are, however, said to be four in number, viz. ;—
1. Būnā (Bunia).
2. Chamār.
3. Chamārwa - who touch unclean things.
4. Chanbar(sic) - who touch unclean things.
The Buna appears in Ludhiana as the Bunia, a Sikh Chamar, who having taken to weaving ranks higher than the workers in leather. The Rahtia* is also said to be a Sikh Chamar who has taken to weaving, but many Rahtias are Muhammadans.
Territorially the Chamars in Patiala are divided into two groups which do not intermarry and thus form sub-castes. These are the Bagri, or immigrants from the Bagar, found in the south-east of the State, and the Desi.
Among the Desi in Patiala two occupational groups are found, viz., the Chamars who make shoes, and the Bonas, the latter sub-caste being weavers of blankets by occupation and Sikhs by religion.
The Jind account divides the Chamars into 5 sub-castes, viz., Rāmddsi, Jatia, Chāmar [sic), Pāthi and Raigar, but it is not clear whether these are occupational or territorial or sectarian groups. The Nabha account says they are divided into 4 groups, viz., Chāṇwar, Jatiā, Bahmnia (?) and Chimar [sic). The Chanwar are again divided into two sub-castes (?), Chanwar proper, who are Sultanis by religion and workers in leather; and the Bonas (or blanket-weavers) who are Sikhs of Guru Govind Singh. The Bonas are not found in the south-east. The Jatias (descendants of Jatti, wife of Ramdās) are found only in the south-east and are regarded as inferiors by the Chanwars, who do not drink or smoke with them. A curious story is told of the origin of the Jatiās, connecting the name with jhanṭ (pubes). No Chanwar Chamar would give the Jutias' forefather a girl to wife, so he married a Chuhra's daughter, but the pheras were not completed when a dispute arose, so the Chuhras and Jatias performed half the pheras outside and the rest inside the house until recently, the Jatia tan horse and camel hide, while the Chānwars of Bawal only tan the skins of kine which the Jatias refuse to touch.
* In Sirsa the word seems to be applied to the members of any low caste, such as Chamar or Chuhra. Mr. Wilson, however, had never heard the word used. In Patiala it is said to be applied t) a Sikh Chamar.

[Page-150]
Chamār gots

The Bahmnia also claim descent from a wife of Rāmdas, and wear the janeo and thus assert their superiority over other Chamārs, but they are not found in Nabha.
The Bilai is apparently the village messenger of the Delhi division. He is at least as often a Chuhra as a Chamār, and ought perhaps to be classed with the former. But there is a Chamār clan of that name who work chiefly as grooms.
The Dusadh is a Purbi tribe of Chamārs, and has apparently come into the Punjab with the troops, being returned only in Delhi, Lahore, and Ambala,
Of the above groups it is clear that some are true sub-castes based on occupation, while others like the Buna are merely occupational groups which may or may not intermarry with other groups. This differentiation of the groups by occupation is most fully developed in the eastern and sub-montane tracts, where the Chamars form an exceedingly large proportion of the population and are the field-labourers of the villages. But in the central districts their place in this respect is taken by the Chuhra. In the west, too, the leather-worker, like all other occupational castes, is much less numerous than in the east. The weaver class, on the other hand, is naturally least numerous in the eastern Districts, where much of the weaving is done by the leather-working castes. And, when the Chamar sticks to leather-working in the eastern Districts, he is apparently dubbed Chamrang or Dabgar, just as in the Punjab proper a Chamār who has adopted Islam, and given up working in cow-hide becomes a Mussalman Khatik tanner.
The gots or sections of the Chamars are very numerous, and some of them are large. They include the Chauhan and Bhatti gots* (numerous in the (central and eastern Districts, especially Ambala) and
Badhan. Bains. Batoi. Bhati. Ghameri. Hir. Jal. Kathana. Mahmi. Phundwal. Sindhu.
Of these eleven gots all but the Kathana are found in the Jullundhar division.
The Chamars are by religion Hindus or Sikhs.
Owing to the fact that the famous bhagat Ramdas was a Chamar by caste, many Chamars are Ramdasias† by sect, and of this sect again some are also Sikhs.
Ramdas was a descendant of Chanu. His mother, Kalsia, was childless, but one day faqir came to her and she gave him flour, in return for which he promised her a son. On his return his guru cross-questioned him, as he was unable to pronounce the name 'Parmeshwar,' and learning of his promise declared that, as no son had been bestowed on Kalsia in her destiny, the faqir himself must be born to her. So he
* The two most numerous gots among the Mochis also, they may of course have adopted these got names from the Rajputs, as Bains and Sindhu may have been borrowed from the Jats.
† The Ramdasia also claim descent from Ramdas. The Ramdasia (Sikhs) take the pahul from Chamars and drink amrit at their hands. Ihe Mazhabi take them from the sweepers' hands. (Kapurthala).

[Page-151]
Chamarwa-Chanali

was reborn as Ramdas, who is called Raidas in Bawal. As his mother was a Chamari he refused her breasts, until his guru bade him suck. One day when placed by his mother at a spot where Rama Nand used to pass, he was touched by that teachcr's sandals, and when he cried out was told by him to be silent and repeat ' Ram Kam.' Thus was supernatural power bestowed upon him.
Contrary to the Chamars' customs Ramdas wore a janeo, sounded a conch, and worshipped idols. The Brahmans appealed to the magistrate, whereupon Ramdas cast the idols into a tank, but they returned to him, whereas the Brahmans failed in a similar test. Again, cutting his neck open Ramdas exhibited 4 jdneos, of GOLD, silver, copper and thread, typical of the 4 yugas. Thenceforth he was known as a famous bhagat.*
Chamar women wear no nose-ring, but among the Bunas it is worn by married women, not by widows. The Charimars of Bawal do not wear GOLD nose-rings, and all the Chamars of that locality avoid clothes dyed in saffron, and the use of gold. They also use beestings only after offering it to the gods on the amawas.

76- Kabir-Panthi, a follower of Kabir.

As given in ''A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/K'' via Jat Land

[Page-417]
Life of Kabir

Kabir-Panthi (कबीर-पंथी), a follower of Kabir. A life of Kabir, who was a little earlier than Luther, having been born in 1440, and who died in 1518 A.D., is beyond the scope of this article.* Of all the fourteen persons usually classed as Bhagats or saints viz., Beni, Bhikan, Dhanna, Shaikh Farid, Jaidev, Kabir, Namdeo, Pipa, Ramanand, Ravidas, Sadhna, Sainu, Surdas and Trilochan† (whose, lives are, for the most part, given in the Bhaktamala , or the North Indian 'Lives of the Saints') Kabir and Tulsi Das have had the greatest influence for good on the uneducated classes of Northern and Central India.

A mystery hangs over Kabir's birth, but it appears that whoever his parents may have been, he was brought up in a family of Musalman weavers at Benares. He is generally looked on as having been a weaver by caste, and the weavers of the country by a process well known in eastern ethnology are fond of calling themselves the descend- ants of this celebrated member of their caste.†† Many of the Julahas in the Punjab return their caste as Kabirbansi, and many of those who return their sect as Kabirbansi or Kabirpanthi, are probably little more than ordinary weavers who have no idea of distinguishing themselves from other Hindu weavers in matters of doctrine. However, Kabir whatever his caste may really have been, is said to have been a pupil of Ramanand, and whether this be true or not, it is beyond doubt that he imbibed a good deal of that master's teaching. From one point of view the Kabirpanthis are merely Ramdnandis who refuse to worship idols.

In the 14th century Ramdnand, the founder of the Bairagis, lived at Benares. One day he went to gather flowers for worship in his garden, but there he was seized and taken by the gardener's daughter to one of the rulers of that period. The girl took with her also the flowers which she herself had picked, and on the road found that they had turned into a handsome child. Thinking Ramanand a wizard she left both him and the child on the spot and fled homewards. Ramdnand then gave the child to a newly wedded Muhammadan Julaha and his wife who chanced to pass that way, and they brought the boy up as their own son.

Another version is that a Brahman's wife craved the boon of a son and used to do homage to her sadhu for one. But one day her husband's sister went to do him reverence in her stead, and it was to her that the sadhu granted the desired boon, though she was a virgin. On learning this the sadhu declared himself unable to recall his gift, and in due curse a child was born to her from a boil which formed on her hand when it was scratched by the rope at a well. In her shame she

(* See Kabir and the Kabir Panth, by the Revd. G. H. Westcott, Cawnpore, 1907.
This list is from Trumpp's Religion der Sikhs, p. 67.
†† The connection between weaving and religion in the Punjab is as interesting as that between cobbling and irreligion in England. There are some Musalmans tribes (the Khokhars, Chughattas and Chauhans for instance who are found in many parts of the the Province performing indifferently the functions of the weaver and the mullah.

[Page-418]
The life of Kabir)

secretly cast the child into a stream, where it was found by a weaver and his wife on their way home after their muklāwa. The child was named Kabir, from kur, palm, and bir, a son, and one day his adoptive mother took him to a tank to bathe. There too came Ramanand and hurt the boy with his sandals, but, when he began to cry, the saint endowed him with miraculous powers. Of his death Hindus and Muhammadans disputed for possession of his body, so it was placed under a cloth and when that was again removed it had disappeared. Half the cloth was then burnt by the Hindus, and the other half buried by the Muhammadans.

"In the midst of the dispute," says Professor Wilson, "Kabir himself appeared amongst them, and desiring them to look under the cloth supposed to cover his mortal remains, immediately vanished. On obeying his instructions they found nothing under the cloth but a heap of flowers." The Hindus took a half of them and burnt them at Benares ; the Muhammadans took the other half and buried them near Gorakhpur, where his death is said to have occurred. Flower-born, Kabir at his death turned to flowers again.

Kabir is in many ways rather a literary, than a religious, celebrity, and his writings, in the common Bhasha, are very voluminous. The Adi-Granth of the Sikhs is full of quotations from him, and he is more often quoted there than any other of the Bhagats. His apothegms are constantly on the lips of the educated classes, whether Hindu or Musalman, even at the present day ; and possibly there is no native author whose words are more often quoted than those of Kabir. It is noticeable, too, that Kabir instead of impressing on his disciples, like most Hindu leaders, the necessity of absolute adherence to the Guru, was fond of stimulating enquiry and encouraging criticisms of his own utterances.

Kabir was probably a Muhammadan Sufi,* but as a Sufi his teachins was addressed to Hindus as well as Muhammadans. Wilson's description of the Kabirpanthi doctrines is still exact : —

"The Kabirpanthis, in consequence of their master having been a reputed disciple of Ramauand and of their paying more respect to Vishnu than the other members of the Hindu triad, are always included among the Vaishnava sects and maintain, with most of them, the Ramawats especially, a friendly intercourse and political alliance. It is no part of their faith, however, to worship any Hindu deity, or to observe any of the rites or ceremonials of the Hindus, whether orthodox or schismatical. Such of their members as are living in the world conform outwardly to all the usages of their tribes and caste, and some of them even pretend to worship the usual divinities, although this is considered as going rather further than is justifiable. Those, however, who have abandoned the fetters of society abstain from all the ordinary practices, and address their homage chiefly in chanting hymns exclusively to the invisible Kabir. They use no mantra nor fixed form of salutation ; they have no peculiar mode of dress, and some of them go nearly naked, without objecting, however, to clothe themselves in order to appear dressed when clothing is considered decent or respectful. The mahants wear a small scull cap; the frontal marks, if worn, are usually those of the Vaishnava sects, or they make a streak with sandal or gopichadan along the ridge of the nose ; a necklace and rosary of tulsi are also worn by them, but all these outward signs are considered of no importance and the inward mail is the only essential point to be attended to." ---

(* According to Macauliffe (Sikh Religion, VI, p. l41), Kabir held the doctrine of ahinsa or the duty of non-destruction of life, even that of flowers. This doctrine would appear to be due to Jain influences. Kabir is reputed to have had a son, Kamal, who refused to look with favour on Hindus (Westcott, op. cit., p, 42) and who was thereupon lost to his father, though, according to Macauliffe, he is believed by the Kabir-pan this to bave been re-animated by Kabir.)

[Page-419]
Kabirpanthi — Kabirwah

It is however very doubtful if the view that Kabir was probably a Muhammadan Sufi can be accepted with confidence, and Dr. G. A. Grierson would legard the sect. founded by Kabir as one of the bhakti-sects. A common feature of many of these sects is the mahaparsada or sacramental meal. On the evening of the appointed day the worshippers assemble and the mahant, or leading celebrant, reads a brief address, find then allows a short interval for prayer and meditation. All who feel themselves unworthy to proceed further then withdraw to a distance. Those that remain approach the senior celebrant in turn, and placing their hands together receive into the palm of the right hand, which is uppermost, a small consecrated wafer and two other articles of consecrated food. They then approach another celebrant, who pours into the palm of the right hand a few drops of water, which they drink. This foe d and water are regarded as Kabir's special gift, and it is said that all who receive it worthily will have eternal life. Part of the sacramental food is 'reserved' and is carefully kept from pollution for administration to the sick. After the sacrament there is a substantial meal which all attend, and which in its character closely resembles the early Christian love-feasts. It is possible that this rite was borrowed from the Jesuit missionaries at Agra, but the head-quarters of the Kabirpanthi sect are at Benares, and the rite is now likely to be a survival of historian influences.*

The Kabirpanthi sadhs or faqirs in this Province wear generally clothes dyed with brickdust colour (geru) ; and both they and the laity abstain from flesh and spirits. The present followers of Kabir hold an intermediate position between idolatry and monotheism, but the mission of Kabir himself is generally looked on as one directed against idolatry; and at Kanwardeh, near Ballabgarh, in the Delhi district, there is a Community of Kabir Panthis descended from an Aggarwal Bania of Puri, who used to travel with 52 cart-loads of Shivs and Saligrams behind him, but who was convinced by Kabir of the error of his ways. The sect of Kabirpanthis is probably better known in the Gangetic Valley than in the Punjab, and the Kabirpanthis are largely found in the south-east of the Province ; but considerable numbers are also returned from Sialkot and Gurdaspur, and it is said that the Meghs and Batwals, so common in these districts, are very generally Kabirpanthis. The sect is also very largely recruited from the Chamar (leather worker) and Julaha (weaver) castes, and it is open to men of all classes to become Kabirpanthis. The Kabirpanthi will almost always describe himself as a Hindu, but a certain number have returned the name as that of an independent religion, and some as a sect of the Sikhs.

An offshoot of the sect is the Dharm Dasias, founded by a wealthy merchant of Benares who turned sadhu. The Dharm Dasias,however, appear to differ in no way from the Kabirpanthis in doctrine, and they are very rarely found in the Punjab. †

Kabirwah (कबीरवाह), a Rajput clan (agricultural) found in Multan.
* J. R. A. S., 1907, p. 326. Dr. Grierson also calls attention to Kabir's doctrine of the shabda or word which is a remarkable Copy of the opening verses of St. John's Gospel.
For an account of the Dharm Das section see Mr. Westcott's book, p. 105.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

75. Megh : Myth of Basak nag

जम्मू-कश्मीर में और तक़रीबन समस्त भारत में बासक नाग या वासुकी नाग की कथाएं प्रचलित रही हैं, जिनसे मेघों का प्रत्यक्ष सम्बन्ध रहा है। इस पर किसी अन्य पोस्ट पर लिखा जायेगा। यहाँ इस बात पर ध्यान अपेक्षित है कि जम्मू-कश्मीर में कई जगहों पर बासक नाग की पूजा की जाती रही है। बासक नाग को नागों का पहला राजा भी कहा जाता है और किसी मेघ को उसका पहला शिष्य या चेला माना गया है। हिस्ट्री ऑफ़ चमार डायनेस्टी के अध्याय 6 के फुटनोट में भी इसका जिक्र किया गया है। जम्मू-कश्मीर के राजा कलस के समय भद्रवाह में यह परंपरा बनी हुई थी। उसका समय 7वीं शताब्दी के आस-पास ठहराया जाता है। हालाँकि आज-कल मेघ निम्न स्तर पर माने जाते हैं परन्तु उस समय तक उनकी सामाजिक और आध्यात्मिक स्थिति निम्न नहीं थी।

"---- The interesting myth of Basak Nag is not only regarded as the presiding deity of Bhadrawah, but as the first Raja of the valley. In Sanskrit literature he occurs under the name of Vasuki and often figures as the king of the Nagas. The attendant of the Naga Shrine are a Brahman pujari and a Chela or disciple in Sanskrit called Cheta who belong to agricultural caste of the Meghs. They are a low caste tribe in the outer hills. The temple of Basaki Naga at Bheja Uparla has two chelas, one of whom is a Megh and the other a Thakur. According to popular notions the Chela is a more important personage than the Pujari, for it is he, who is supposed to prophesy through his mouth. The state of feigned or real ecstasy, in which such predictions are uttered, is indicated by the word nachna, "to dance." The Chela is very prudent in the wording of his prophesies so that it never can be said that they have not come true. The same institution is found in connection with Devi worship." (H. P. H. S., pp 617-618) & R.T. vol.1, Book-7, p-315 cited in The History of Chamar Dynasty (from 6th century A.D. to 12th centuru A.D.) By Raj Kumar page-228

Thursday, September 18, 2014

74. Meghs : Kolarian group

जहाँ तक मेरी जानकारी है, प्रायः सभी पुरातत्व वेत्ताओं और इतिहासकारों ने तथा एन्थ्रोपोलोजी आदि के विद्वानों ने मेघ लोगों को कोलारियन जातीय समूह में परिगणित किया है। जो भारत में वैदिक आर्यों से पूर्व निवास करने वाला समूह था। द्रविड़ लोग भी आर्यों से पहले भारत में बस चुके थे। डाल्टन महोदय ने भारत के लोगों को दो तरह का वर्गीकरण किया है। जिसमें एक आर्य (Arya) व दूसरा अनार्य (non-Aryan); अनार्य वर्ग को पुनः दो भागों में विभक्त किया। पहला- कोल समूह (Kolaria group) व दूसरा- द्रविड़ (Dravid), इस वर्गीकरण को कई पैमानों और मानकों पर परख कर सन्धेय किया गया है। उनमें से एक निम्नोक्त है, जो विचारणीय है-

"Colonel Dalton comprises all the non-Aryan tribes under two heads, namely, 1. The Kolarian, or those who speak a language allied with that of Kols, Santhals, Mundas and their cognates. 2. The Draviden, or those who speak a language allied with the Tamil or Telugu."

Page-12


(Reference: Col. Dalton,- 'Descriptive Ethnology---' (1866) in "The History of India" vol-3, By J. Talboys Wheeler, Trubner & co. London, 1874 and also in Caldwell's Comparative Grammer-- and other sources affirm the theory. As such I also inclined to endorse the derivation.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

73. Megh : An aboriginal and primitive tribe

Megh : An aboriginal and primitive tribe- हर्मन्न गोएटज़ (Hermann Goetz) चाम्बा (पंजाब) के प्रारंभिक काष्ठ-मंदिरों के वर्णन में लिखते है कि हिमालय की घाटी में सांस्कृतिक रूप से चार प्रकार मिलते है। उनमे मेघों ke सांस्कृतिक समूह को 'कोली' समूह में ही गिना है। उनकी यह टिपण्णी विशेष रूप से ध्यान देने योग्य है कि इनकी सामाजिक पदावनति बहुत पहले हो गयी थी। अर्थार्त समाज के स्तरीकरण में इनका निम्न स्तर बहुत पहले हो चूका था। आगे लिखता है कि ये यहाँ के मूल-निवासी और आदि जन जनजाति (aboriginal & primitive tribe) है। उसके शब्दों में-

"Now, in these Himalayan valleys we can easily distinguish four main cultural strata. The first two are represented by the aboriginals. The Kolis who form 30% of the population, have since long been degraded to the low castes. They appear under various caste names, Koli, Hali, Sipi, Chamar, Dumna, Barwala, MEGH, Darain, Rehara, Sahara, Lohar, Bhatwal, Dhaugi(Dagi), Chanal, etc. Several of these names are well-known to us, either as generic terms, e.g. chanal(chandala), chamar, or as names of primitive jungal tribes,e.g. Koli or Meghs, or as professional names which always had been out side the pale of respectable society,e.g. Lohar.----------"pp- 44-45

(Reference: 'The Early Wooden Temples of Chamba', By: Hermann Goetz,
Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1955, pages- 44-45)


Saturday, September 13, 2014

72. Tabakat-I-Nasiri

नीचे लिखे गए उद्धतरण 'Tabakat-I-Nasiri' के अंग्रेजी अनुवाद से अक्षरशः दिए गए है। भारत और एशिया में मुसलमानों के राजवंशों पर इस पुस्तक में अच्छी-खासी जानकारी प्रमाणिक रूप से उपलब्ध है। जिसमें 'मेघों' के तिब्बत और लखनवति के मध्य कुछ राज्यों का उल्लेख भी है, जो बख्त्यार के आक्रमण तक सत्ता संपन्न थे। बख्त्यार से हारने के बाद उनके अधीन हो गए। जैसा कि इतिहास में होता आया है।
यह वर्णन 10वीं शताब्दी के आस-पास के उनके इतिहास पर महत्वपूर्ण प्रकाश डालता है। इस समयावधि में तिब्बत और लखनवति के मध्य पहाड़ों पर तीन प्रजातियाँ निवास करती थी,उनमें एक कुंच या कुच या कोंच जाति, दूसरी मेग जाति और तीसरी थारू या तिहारू जाति का यतस्ततः उल्लेख किया गया है। उस समय यह क्षेत्र तुर्क के संपर्क में या समर्थन में रहा। इनकी अपनी विशिष्ट भाषा और संस्कृति का भी उल्लेख है, जो हिन्द और तुर्क के मध्य व्यहवृत थी। इनका मुखिया या राजा 'अली' कहा जाता था, जो मेघ होता था।
थारू जाति मुरंग के निकट मकवानपुर के मैदानी इलाकों में रहती थी। मोरंग के पूर्व में विजयपुर में मुख्यतः कोच और पहाड़ों के निचले भागों में 'मेघ' निवास करते थे।
मूल पुस्तक पर्शियन भाषा में है। पर्शियन में हिंदी के ग हेतु कई जगह ज का प्रयोग किया है। अंग्रेजी अनुवादक ने उसे कई जगह अंग्रेजी में meg और कई जगह mej लिखा है। अतः इससे भ्रम पैदा न हो इस हेतु टिपण्णी देकर स्पष्ट किया गया है कि यह एक ही शब्द है और मेघों के सम्बोधानार्थ प्रयुक्त है। यह भी स्पष्ट किया गया है कि भाषा की वर्तनी भिन्नता के कारण कई जगह मेग को mej, mech, meg, megh आदि शब्दों से दर्ज किया है।

(मेघ : तबाकती--नसीरी के अंग्रेजी अनुवाद में Bibliotheca Indica के पेज 560 पर मेघों पर की गयी टिपण्णी-
"The 'Tharoo' [Tiharu] caste, according to Buchanan, composes the greatest portion of the population that are dwellers in the plain of "Saptari," in Makwanpur adjoining the Murang on the north-west ; and the inhabitants of the Murang to the east of Bijaipur [Wijayapur] are chiefly Konch, and on the lower hills are many of the Megh, Mej, or Megh, tribe.")

एक बात यहाँ और दोहराना चाहूँगा, जो मैंने 'मेघवंश:इतिहास और संस्कृति' में कही है, वह यह है कि मेघ लोग अगर वास्तव में अपना इतिहास ढूंढ़ना चाहते है तो उन्हें भारत के पडौसी देशों के इतिहास और साहित्य में रूचि जागृत करनी पड़ेगी। हिन्दू ग्रंथों में आपका उल्लेख नगण्य है तो पर्शियन, तुर्की, चीनी और अरबी आदि साहित्य में विपुल है।
इसी कड़ी में निम्नोक्त सन्दर्भ गहराई से परखिये और बीच की अवधि के इतिहास की रिक्तता को भरिये।
ये सन्दर्भ 'Bibliotheca Indica' से है, जो Asiatic Society of Bengal द्वारा सन 1881 में प्रकाशित की गयी। जिसमें Tabakat-I-Nasiri का अंग्रेजी अनुवाद् प्रकाशित किया गया।
"Tabakat-I-Nasiri: A General History of the Muhammdan Dynasties of Asia including Hindustan from A.H. 194 (810AD) to A.H. 658 (1260 AD) and irruption of the infidel Mughals into Islam"
By- The Maulana Minhaj-ud-Din-Abu-Umar-I-Usman.
Translated from original Presian Manuscripts By Major H. G. Ravrty, Vol.1,
Printed by Gilbert &Rivington,1881 in Bibliotheca Indica : A collection of Oriental Works, Published by The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Translation of the Tabakat-I-Nasiri of the Moulana Minhaj-I-Saraj, Abu Umar-I-Usman.
पृष्ठ संख्या प्रत्येक उद्ध्तरण में दे दी गयी है।

......tion to the presence of Sultan Kutb-ud-Din, I-bak. After some years had passed away4, and he had ascer tained the state of the different mountain tracts of Turkis tan and Tibbat to the eastward of Lakhanawati5, the ambition of seizing the country of Turkistan and Tibbat began to torment his brain ; and he had an army got ready, and about 10,000 horse were organized. In the different parts of those mountains which lie between Tibbat and the country of Lakhanawati are three races of people, one called the Kunch6, the second the Mej [Meg], and the third the Tiharu ; and all have Turk countenances. They have a different idiom too, between the language of Hind and Turk7. One of the chiefs of the tribes of Kunch and Mej, whom they were wont to call 'Ali, the Mej, fell into the hands of Muhammad-i-Bakht-yar, the Khalj, and, at his hand also, the former adopted the Muhammadan faith.
He agreed to conduct Muhammad-i-Bakht-yar into those hills, and act as guide ; and he brought the latter to a place where there is a city, the name of which is Burdhan [kot]8. They relate, after this manner, that, in ancient times, Shah Gushtasib9 returned from the country of Chin, and came towards Kamrud, and, by that route, got into Hin dustan, and founded that city [Burdhan-kot]. A river flows in front of that place, of vast magnitude, the name of which is Beg-mati1; and, when it enters the country of Hindustan, they style it, in the Hindu! dialect, Samund 2 [ocean] ; and, in magnitude, breadth, and depth, it is three times more than the river Gang. To the banks of this river Muhammad-i-Bakht-yar came; and 'All, the Mej, joined the army of Islam ; and, for a period of ten days, he took the army up the river among the mountains, until he brought it to a place where, from remote times, they had built a bridge of hewn stone, and consisting of upwards of twenty arches'. After the army
Ref bibliothico Indica pp 560-561

Footnote at page 560 mad-i-Sam, to whom he appears to have been most loyal [see page 571]. He had no occasion whatever to issue money in the name of Malik Kutb-ud- Din, who was still a slave ; and MuJiammad-i-Bakit-yar only died the same year in which Sultan Mu'izz-ud-Din was himself assassinated. See Thomas : "PathAn Kings of Dehli," page no, and note and Elliot : India, vol. li. page 309. 4 This expedition must have been undertaken towards the close of the year 601 H. After Mufcammad-i-Bakllt-yar had acquired great power and grandeur, he turned his thoughts to the acquirement of further territory in Tibbat and Turkistan without probably being aware of the distance to be traversed, and the difficulties to be surmounted. He set out with a force of about 12,000 horse accordiig to the generality of accounts, but the Raujat-us- Safa has " 10,000 horse, and 30,000 foot 1" which is certainly incorrect. Tibbat was a well-known name in our author's time even, and yet Hamilton in his " Description of Hindostan," vol. ii. page 566, makes the rash statement that it does not appear that the name Tibet is anywhere in general use to designate the province according to the European acceptation of the word ! This may be true as to Tibet, for the country here referred to is written and called Tibbat. The "Tharoo" [Tiharu] caste, according to Buchanan, composes the greatest portion of the population that are dwellers in the plain of "Saptari," in MakwanpQr adjoining the MCrang on the north-west ; and the inhabitants of the MOrang to the east of Bijaipur [Wijayapur] are chiefly Kon£h, and on the lower hills are many of the Megh, Mej, or Megh, tribe. 1 Our author's ideas of east and west are rather obscure, as may be noticed at page 431. In this instance he means to the north and north-east. • In some copies the nasal n is left out Kuch.. ' In some of the more modern copies of the text, "Hind and Titiat."

Footnote at page 561- * The oldest and best copies generally have as above, but two add kot, and one copy gives the vowel points. The Zubdat-ut-Tawarilfji also has Burdhan twice. The other copies collated have Murdhan and Murdhan-kot, and the printed text, in a note, has Durdhan [Wurdhan ?] as well as Burdhan. 9 Some copies have Giisjjtasib and some Garshasib, and one has Gudarz. In the Iranian records Garghasib, son of Zau, is not mentioned as having had aught to do with Hind or Chin. The wars of Gushtasib with Arjasib, son of Afrasiyab, King of Turan, are narrated, but there is no mention of Gusljtasib's going into Turan or Chin ; but his son, Isfandiyar, according to the tradition, reduced the sovereign of Hind to submission, and also invaded Chin. In the account of the reign of Kai-Khusrau, Gudarz, with Rustam and GIw, invaded Turkistan to revenge a previous defeat sustained from Afrasiyab who was aided on this occasion by the troops of Suklab and Chin, and Shankal. sovereign of Hind, was slain by the hand of Rustam. Our author, in another place, states that Gushtasib, who had gone into Chin by that route, returned into Hind by way of the city of Kamrud, and that up to the period of the invasion of Kamrud by Ikhtiyar-ud-Din, Yuz-Bak-i-Tughril Khan, governor of LakhanawatI — some years after Muhammad-i-Bakht-yar's expedition — twelve hundred "hoards" of treasure, all still sealed as when left there by Giishtasib, fell into the hands of the Musalmans ! 1 The name of this river in the best and oldest copies is as above, but some others, the next best copies, have Beg-hati, Bak-mati, or Bag-mati, and others have Bang-mati, Mag-madl, and Nang-mati, or Nag-mati. Bag-mati is not an uncommon name for a river, and is applied to more than one. The river of Nipal, which lower down is called the Grandhak, is called Bag-mati. J Samund or Samudr or Samudra, the ocean. One of the best copies of the text has "when it enters the ocean or sea \\>_jt\ of Hindustan," &c. * The reader cannot fail to notice that considerable discrepancy exists here in our author's statements respecting this river and bridge. From what he (continue on page 562) says about the size we are led to conclude that this river, Beg-mati or Bek- matt, must be the Brahma-putr ; but what part of it is the question to be solved. When he adds that it is more than three times broader and deeper than the Gang— and, of course, equally liable to inundation — the idea of its being spanned by a stone bridge of above twenty [i. e. between twenty and twenty-five] arches, shows that the narrator, or his informant, must have grossly exaggerated. We may suppose our author's idea of the size of the Gang was derived from what he had seen of that river on his journey from Dihll to Lakhanawati ; but, if we only take its average breadth at Banaras during the height of the hot season, viz. 1500 feet, our author's river will be a mile or more in breadth ; and, if wc believe that this bridge consisted of even twenty-five arches, each of them would be above seventy yards in the span. Is this at all probable ? At page 561, our author says 'Alt, the Mej, brought them to a place where stood the town of Burdhan or Abuidhan-kot, in front of which flows the mighty river Beg-mati, which, on entering Hindustan, they call the Samund, but the great bridge is not mentioned in connexion with it. He then says that 'Alt, the Mcj, joined the Musalman forces on the banks of this river, and then conducted them ' ' up the river for a period of ten days' journey " [some 200 miles or more, even at the low computation of twenty miles a day for cavalry without incumbrance, would have brought them near to the Sanpu or upper part of the Brahma-putr in Tibbat], and then, not before, they reached this great bridge, but no river is mentioned. At page 565, it is said that after passing this great river the forces pushed on for a further period of fifteen days [200 or 250 miles, even allowing for the extra difficulty of the country] when the open country of Tibbat was reached. Here it would appear that 'Alt, the Mej, joined them, beyond the territory of the Rajah of Kamrud, and the lattcr's message to Muhammad, son of Bakht-yar, confirms it ; but, farther on [page 569], this great bridge is said to be in [but probably adjoining] the Kamrud territory, or words to that effect. The boundaries of Kamrud are very loosely described by Musalman authors, and they apply the name to all the country between the northern frontiers of Muhammadan Bangalah and the hills of Bhutan, its southern boundary being where the Lakhiyah river separates from the Brahma-putr. From the distinct mention of Tibbat and Turkistan, by others as well as by our author, together with other observations made by him, it is evident that Muhammad, son of Bakht-yar — and his forces — marched from Dtw-kot, or Dib-kot, in Dtnja-pur district, the most important post on the northern frontier of his territory, keeping the country of the Rajah of Kamrud on his right hand, and proceeding along the bank of the river Tfstah, through Sikhim, the tracts inhabited by the Kunch, Mcj, and Tiharii, to Burdhan-kot. They were not in the territory of the Rajah of Kamrud, as his message shows ; yet, when the retreat is mentioned, the Musalmans were, invested in the idol- temple by his people, but no reference is made to this temple's being near the bridge in the account of their advance. Pushing onwards from Burdhan-kot, which may have been situated on a river, on the tenth day the Musalmans reached the bank of the great river where was the bridge of stone " of above twenty arches." If the town of Burdhan or Abuidhan-kot was situated on the farther side of the great bridge, it is strange Muhammad, son of Bakht-yar,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

71. Dogra Megh - डोगरा मेघ

"DOGRA, a term applied to any inhabitant of the Dugar des, whatever his caste, but more especially to the Hindu Rajputs of the region. Brahmans also are included in the term, as are Rathis and Thakurs (as Rajputs), but not Ghirths or Kanets."
"According to Drew (Jammu and Kashmir Territories, pp-43 et. seq.) There are two lakes near Jammu, the Saroin sar and Man Sar, and the country between them was called in Sanskrit Drigarh desh or the country between the two hollows. This was currupted into Dugar. Drew divide the Dogra of Jammu hills into Brahmans, Rajputs (including the Mians and working Rajputs), Khatris, Thakurs, Jats, Banyas and Kirars (petty shopkeepers), Nais, Jiurs (carriers), Dhiyars (iron-smelters), MEGHS and Dums..." page-246


(Reference: A Glossary of Tribes and Castes of Punjab and North West Frontier Province based on the Census Report for the Punjab by Sir Denzil Ibbetson & Census Report for Punjab 1892 by Maclagan and compiled by H. A. Rose, Volume- 2, Lahore,1911, page-246.)

70. Churahi Megh - चुरही मेघ

चंबा राज्य में 'चुरही (churahi)' शब्द चुराह विज़ारत के लोगों हेतु प्रयुक्त एक सामान्यीकृत नाम है। जिसके अंतर्गत ब्राह्मण, राजपूत, ठाकुर, राठी और निम्नोक्त निम्न जातियां शामिल है- हाली, कोली, सिप्पी, बरवाल, लोहार, चमार, डुम्ना, रिहर, चानल, मेघ, आदि। -डेंजिल इब्बेट्सन , एच. . रोज़।
"CHURAHI is the generic name for the people of the Churahi wizarat, in Chamba state, who includes Brahmans, Rajputs, Thakurs, Rathis and following low castes: Halis, Kolis, Sippis, Barwals, Lohars, Chamars, Dumnas, Rihars, Chanals, MEGHS, etc. The low castes are endogamaous."

(Reference: A Glossary of Tribes and Castes of Punjab and North West Frontier Province based on the Census Report for the Punjab by Sir Denzil Ibbetson & Census Report for Punjab 1892 by Maclagan and compiled by H. A. Rose, Volume- 2, Lahore,1911, Page-210)


Sunday, September 7, 2014

69. Bhakt/Bhagat

"The castes below that of the writers have not much of a showy religion ; indeed they may almost be said to have none. On this account, however, they are not worse than those people of the higher castes who make loud professions of it ; but on the whole better, be: cause having no cloak to cover their crimes, they are more plain hearted and generally more honest. There are some men among them here and there who, all their life time, abstain from taking even a single mouthful of meat ; they keep beads and count them and repeat the names of some gods. By doing this, and more particularly by abs;aining from meat, and doing two or three other trifling things, which people of their castes do not and which we shall just mention, they are called Bhakts or Saints."

(Reference: "Domestic Manners and Customs of the Hindoos of Northern India" By: Baboo Ishuri Dass, Medical Hall, Benares, 1860, page-85-86)





68. Bhakt and their faith

"The castes below that of the writers have not much of a showy religion ; indeed they may almost be said to have none. On this account, however, they are not worse than those people of the higher castes who make loud professions of it ; but on the whole better, be: cause having no cloak to cover their crimes, they are more plain hearted and generally more honest. There are some men among them here and there who, all their life time, abstain from taking even a single mouthful of meat ; they keep beads and count them
"and repeat the names of some gods. By doing this, and more particularly by abs;aining from meat, and doing two or three other trifling things, which people of their castes do not and which we shall just mention, they are called Bhakts or Saints. The religion of those castes, that are lower than that of the writers, consists in the following practices. When they rise in the morning and while they are yet only half awake, they repeat the name of R;lm, one of their incarnations or sometimes of some other god. They bathe in the forenoon.betweeii ten and twelve, which is just before taking their breakfast. When they are about to retire for the night, they agiin tw:33 or thrice repeat the name of R;im. This is the whole of their daily religion. Sometimes they also have pooja ; then they call a Brahmin to perform it for them in their houses and of course pay him for the trouble. As these people have not got much of an external religion' or at least not so much as. those of the higher castes have, they have no priests to wait on them regularly and therefore pay them just at the time when they require their services. Another and a very important part of their religion is also inviting Brahmins and giving them dinners. The food is not dressed by the inviters ; but the priests themselves cook after they are provided with the articles, which are flour, clarified butter, some vegetables, salt, spices, sugar, milk, curdl ed milk, and one or two other things. A part of the floor of a room or of the small yard in front of the house is consecrated by being plastered with cow-dung and water ; this is generally done by the inviters them selves. After the place is purified one or two Brah mins begin to cook. Unmarried girls or virgins are considered a kind of sacred beings, and inviting a number of them and giving them food is also a religious
act ; it is considered meritorious and is often observed by them. These girls of different castes, however, eat separate. They also shew themselves religious by observing the various Hindoo festivals and having va rious sorts of dishes which is almost the sole induce ment to observe them and of which they principally consist. Their religion, moreover, consists in the wor ship of Brahmins, and whenever they meet a man of this caste, they say, Pdldgan Mdhdrdj, that is, / wor- ship your feet, great Sir ! Some of them actually throw themselves down at the feet of Brahmins in the act of worship. This religion of which we have spoken in the pre ceding lines is that of the middle classes such as agri culturists, mechanics, ifec. But the lowest castes have scarcely any religion at all. They are" considered by others and consider themselves as outcasts from socie ty and not tit to profess and practise any sort of reli gion. They can eat without bathing ; do seldom re peat the name of any god ; and Brahmins will not go into their houses to perform pooja and to eat. Some times, though very seldom, a priest performs pooja for somebody of this lowest class in his own house ; the unclean person cannot of course join it, but must be a mere distant spectator. A person of this -caste must not touch a Brahmin, but must offer his respects and worship at a distance. Though these people are con sidered so unclean by the priests, yet the latter will take good care never to refuse their pice ; these are never thought unclean, and they will even accept lrom them dry articles of food, such as grain, flour, fa. But on the whole, people of these lowest classes have not got even a show of religion ; they are con sidered too mean in the scale of existence to be reli gious. According to the Hindoo religion elephants, monkeys, cows, mountains, rivers, and trees rank higher, and we may say infinitely higher, than people of these classes. The priests are always ready to work on the creduli ty of the people. Whenever an epidemic prevails among children, they have a fine opportunity to lead women by the ear ; goddesses are recommended to be worshipped and offerings to be made to them, which offerings are of course appropriated by the crafty Brah mins to their own use. Women generally worship some goddess or other ; and sometimes when there is no image of a goddess in a neighbourhood, a Brahmin secretes an image in a small hole dug on purpose, with a little loose earth on the image, leaving a part of it exposed, so that it can be seen ; and then gives out to the people living about the place that a goddess has graciously- appeared there and calls upon all to worship her. Scores of people, but especially women flock to the place, see the image, believe it to have really come out of the earth, and begin their worship with prostrations, offerings &c. Occasionally, when a priest secretes an image in a hole, he puts under it a few handfuls of the pulse called chand in a moistened state ; the pulse, when moistened well, (which is al ways the case) swells in the course of an hour or two to double its size and raises part of the image above the surface of the earth ; the people can see the image rise, but not knowing its cause take it for a miracle or something supernatural, and worship the image with redoubled faith and zeal to the great satisfaction and profit of the priest. Now and then one of this class pretends to have been favoured with a night vision by a goddess, who, he says desires a temple to be erected for her ; in this he sometimes succeeds and at others not. The writer knows a certain place in this station where sometime ago there was no image of a goddess but a cunning Brahmin has set it up there now. He commenood his operations just as has been said, (though withou the help of the pulse) and has succeeded. The women of the place always resort to it, more particularly in the hot season, when some sickness or other is always prevalent in their families ; at such times there are a good many about the place, and the trade of the priest flourishes better. He has been allowed by the owner of the piece of land to build a hut there in which he lives. A small white platform of masonry is raised under a tree on which the image is placed ; a small well has been dug from which worshippers are supplied with water for purposes of purification and offerings ; and the man has there two or three flower beds also, from which flowers are presented to the image. He once pretend ed, that the goddess, who is worshipped there, had appeared to him in a dream and said that a temple must be built for her on the spot. This order has not been executed yet, nor is there any great likelihood of its being attended to soon, because the people about the neighbourhood are poor. The writer once passing by a temple of a goddess heard one or two of these religious robbers sing out to worshippers this lucrative doctrine, Diin charhao debi nidi ; Papi nark ny jiio bhilf. That is, present offerings to our mother the goddess, O sinners, and you will not go to hell. Sometimes, mis chievous Mohomedan boys or men throw away these images from their places into holes or ponds unobser ved, and then the priests give out, that the god or god dess has become angry and left the place in conse quence."

(Reference: "Domestic Manners and Customs of the Hindoos of Northern India" By: Baboo Ishuri Dass, Medical Hall, Benares, 1860, page-83-84-85-86-87)


67. Bhakt

"Butchers. There are two classes of them ; one Hin doo, and the other Mohomedan. The former kill only sheep ami goats ; the cow is considered sacred by them. Tiie latter mostly kill cows, and this beef is sold to Mohomedans, who eat also mutton and goat's flesh. Mutton and goat's flesh arc eaten by Hindoos, excepting a few Brahmins, Baniyas, and some others of the other classes who bind themselves with a vow never to tastes flesh ; these are called Bhakts, which literally means Saints, but is now in common language understood to mean an abstainer from flesh. Such a man is considered as possessed of an eminent degree of piety. Compared with Mohomedans, Hindoos use animal food very sparingly."

Reference: "Domestic Manners and Customs of the Hindoos of Northern India" By: Baboo Ishuri Dass, Medical Hall, Benares, 1860, page-56


Friday, September 5, 2014

66. Brahmins: flesh eater though sacred

सन 1860 में बाबू ईशरी दास ने उत्तर भारत के हिन्दुओं में उस समय प्रचलित रहन-सहन के तौर-तरीकों और रीति-रिवाजों का संकलन कर प्रकाशित किया। स्पष्टतः उस समय तक ब्राह्मण मांसाहारी थे, फिर भी वे पवित्र माने जाते थे। फिर अछूत जनता के ऊपर मांसाहार के आरोप के कारण उन्हें अछूत करार देना कहाँ तक उचित है? बात साफ है यह है कि मांसाहार से छुआछूत का कोई लेना देना नहीं है।


"Brahmins are of various sects and some of them use animal food and others do not. Animals are killed by those that eat flesh, but only certain kinds of them, such as sheep, goats, deer, rabbits, pigeons partridges, and some others that are considered clean and lawful. Some of those who do not use animal food make now and then soup of gravel. They pick up two or three handfuls of small and clean gravel and boil it in powdered turmerick and other spices; they say a kind of grease is extracted from the gravel. After boiling it for half an hour or so, they take the gravel out of the soup and throw it away and eat cakes with the soup. The poorer classes of Brahmins are gluttonous; feeding them is considered very meritorious by people of other castes, and when they are invited to these religious dinners they eat a great deal; some of them can devour about four pounds of solid food at a meal. All Brahmins claim to be gods' and are considered so by others. People frequently prostrate themselves at their feet and they receive this worship with the greatest complacency and satisfaction. Very often, however, when a quarrel or affray takes place between them and people of other castes, they are abused and beaten, and sometimes murdered too." Pages 20-21

Reference: "Domestic Manners and Customs of the Hindoos of Northern India" By: Baboo Ishuri Dass, Medical Hall, Benares, 1860, pp-20-21

Thursday, September 4, 2014

65. Meghs do not worship the chief Hindu deities

मेघ : काठियावाड़ के अछूतों का सामाजिक-आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण1923-1938

सन 1923 में अन्त्यज सेवा मंडल, गुजरात ने खेड़ा और सूरत के अन्त्यजों की हालातों का विस्तृत अध्ययन किया था। इस कड़ी में काठियावाड़ का अध्ययन भी किया गया। दोनों क्षेत्र रहन-सहन और कई मामलों में एक-दूसरे से अलग हैं, परन्तु दोनों ही क्षेत्रों के अन्त्यजों या अछूतों की समस्याएं और निर्योग्यतायें एक-सी ही मिलीं। (सामान्यकृत करते हुए कह सकते हैं कि समस्त भारत में अछूतों की समस्याएं एक-सी हैं)। बोम्बे विश्व विद्यालय के श्री के. बी. व्यास ने काठियावाड़ के भावनगर आदि के साथ 39 गांवों और दस्कोई महल आदि के इलाकों के गांवों/नगरों को मिलाकर कुल 50 गांवों का सर्वेक्षण व साक्षात्कार किया।

इस सर्वेक्षण के सार-संक्षेप (abstract) में दी गयी वस्तुस्थिति की कुछ महत्वपूर्ण जानकारी नीचे दी जा रही है-

"A detailed questionare was prepared for the enquiry of each of the village. In all author visited fifty (50) villages and collected detailed information from the main castes of the untouchables such as Vankars (275 families), Chamars (106 families), Bhangis (178 families), Garodas and Sadhs (18 families); consisting of 2855 persons (687 males, 780 females, 716 boys and 672 girls), which form the complete untouchable population of the Dadkroi Mahal."

"The thesis has been divided in 11 chapters"

"Chapter 3 deals with the general social conditions and their relations with other classes of society. The author has given detailed account of the social disabilities felt by them, how these restrictions have stifled the progress and well being of these classes. The process of segregation is very severe. It affects almost every phase of their life. They cannot avail themselves of the general facilities for education and transport. They cannot draw water from the common well of the village. They are compelled to render several compulsory service to the state officers. They cannot by reason of untouchablity, by or sell in an open market. The untouchable classes can never think of entering the Hindu temples. They cannot get full worth of their labour. Out of 817 common state schools, not a singal school admits the children of the untouchables for study. They are very meek and dumb people. According to jail statistics of the Bhavnagar Central Jail, the untouchables hardly ever commit any crime. They are thus meeker than the traditionally meek Baneas. Long period of servility have made them very humble and timid. They can never think of committing a crime. They are totally dependant on the goodwill of upper castes. The Author remarks: 'Should untouchables insist upon their rights and cast off the traditional bonds of untouchablity they would be faced with non-employment, and a severe social boycott.' And ends: 'This economic dependence of the untouchables upon the upper castes Hindus is a strong bulwark of untouchablity.'---"

"In the remaining chapters the author discusses the religious life of the untouchables, their marriage system, birth and death rate, their economic conditions, indebtedness, addiction, and concludes with a chapter on their prospects."

The main findings are as follows-
"They do not worship the chief Hindu deities like Shiva or Vishnu, but worship Ramdevji or Ramji Pir. They are more religious than the lower Hindu classes like Kunbis and the artisan classes. Behind all their religious activities, there lies a pious hope to be promoted to the upper Hindu castes in the next life."
And many more--------


(Reference: "The Untouchables of Kathiawar: A Socio-Economic Survey", By K. B. Vyas, Bombay, 1938. (Research in Sociology: Abstracts of M.A. and Ph.D Dissertations)